Mixing and Matching the Bill of Rights to Find Justice

          Timbs v Indiana, 139 S. Ct. 682 (2019) involved the seizure of a $42,000 Land Rover for a minor offense which had a maximum fine of $10,000.  The Supreme Court in a decision authorized by Justice Ruth Ginsburg held that the action allowed the Court to augment its Fourteenth Amendment by the “excessive fines clause” of the Eighth Amendment due process jurisprudence.  To demonstrate the importance of this protection against government’s ability to commandeer property, Justice Ginsburg traced what she called the “venerable lineage” of this protection to Magna Carta in 1215.  The opinion then follows the protection down through colonial constitutions and finally to the Bill of Rights.  “For good reason, the protection against excessive fines has been a constant shield throughout Anglo-American history.  Exorbitant tolls undermine other constitutional liberties.”

Posted in Eighth Amendment, Exorbitant Fines, Uncategorized
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